Sunday, January 20, 2019

Blood Rage (John Grissmer, 1987)

If your twin sons were running around an expansive Jacksonville, Florida apartment complex murdering people with a machete, you'd drink multiple glasses of wine, too. And you'd probably vacuum the entire apartment, clean the oven, make several phone calls on a rotary telephone, eat Thanksgiving leftovers directly from the refrigerator and pass out in the hall. I mean, think about it. I said, "expansive" apartment complex. In other words, there are plenty of people to murder. Shot in 1983, released in 1987, Blood Rage (a.k.a. Nightmare at Shadow Woods), is a slasher flick with a... Seriously, 1987? You expect me to believe men and women wore shorts that short in 1987? (What are you babbling about?) It's just that I was under the impression that this film was from 1987. And it clearly isn't. Date confusion aside, the film, directed by John Grissmer, has everything you would want from a slasher film and more. The gore is fantastic, the actors who can act (Louise Lasser and Mark Soper) are sort of/kind of amazing and the actors who can't act get killed real good (you know, because the gore is, like I said, fantastic). Of course, I'm not one of those "gore people," but I definitely like to watch people get murdered in ways that are satisfyingly grisly. (And the people in this movie get murdered that way?) Oh, they get murdered "that way," all right. In fact, one lucky bastard gets stabbed in the neck with a fork. A freakin' fork!

(Wait, why is he "lucky"? Isn't being stabbed in the neck with a fork a bad thing?) This may come as a surprise, but I would kill to be murdered with a fork in Blood Rage. Actually, I would consider it to be a honour. No, hear me out. While everyone else around you is being murdered with a machete, your ass is wasted with a fork, which is totally not a machete.

It should be noted before I continue that the synth score by Richard Einhorn is flat-out awesome.

So, yeah, fantastic gore and awesome synths. What more could you want?

What's that? You say you need a milfy gold digger in black stockings. Oh, this movie has got you covered, my pervy not yet buttered little crumpet.

A single mom named Julie (Jayne Bentzen) thinks she has bagged herself a "rich daddy." Little does she know, that while she was out bagging this fella, Andrea (Lisa Randall), the college-age woman she hired to babysit her stupid fuckin' baby, has invited over a murderous twin to watch television. And, trust me, this is going to put a serious damper on Julie's social life.

To "seal the deal," Julie sheaths her long, milfy stems into a pair sheer black stockings. Yum?

I know, the twin she invites over, Terry (Mark Soper), is supposed to be the sane twin. But as we all know, Todd (Mark Soper), the supposed insane twin, isn't as insane as we were lead to believe.

It all started at a drive-in theater back in 1974, when a preteen Terry and Todd decide to leave the backseat of their mom's car while she's making out with her boyfriend. Stumbling upon an axe, Terry says: Hey, you know what? I think I'll axe one of these horny teenagers in the face with the axe I just stumbled upon.

Not wanting to see his brother get in trouble, Todd grabs the axe... No wait, I think Terry gives Todd the axe and smears blood over his face. Either way, Todd, not Terry, is the one who gets sent to a mental hospital.
Fast-forward ten years, and Terry is a semi-popular college student with a semi-attractive girlfriend, Todd's a basket case and their mom, Maddy (Louise Lasser) is still trying to find a man (I hear ya, honey).

We quickly learn that Terry is still kind of twitchy when we watch him react to the news that Maddy is going to marry this Brad fuckface, the owner/landlord/whatever of Shadow Woods, the expansive Jacksonville, Florida apartment complex I alluded to earlier.

Celebrating Thanksgiving with his mother, Brad, Karen (Julie Gordon), his semi-attractive girlfriend, and Andrea, a gal who knows how to rock blue eye shadow and dark red lipstick, Terry decides to exploit the fact that his twin brother is rumoured to have escaped "the loony bin" and is heading straight for Shadow Woods to cause a little mayhem.

And by "exploit," I mean murder people a machete and have the people he hasn't yet murdered with a machete believe it's Todd who's murdering people... with a machete.

I wonder if the machete matches the drapes.

In order to increase the body count, the film adds Todd's doctor, her "male helper" and two male students with dark hair.

And, yes, one of these dark-haired male students is stabbed in the neck with a fork. I won't say which one because I can't... Wait, I think he's the one who is friend-zoned by Karen. Anyway, while the bifurcation, the hand chopping and the severed head dangling in the doorway scenes are all noteworthy, I prefer fork to the neck scene.

Since I'm a sucker for repeated lines, I gotta say, I loved Terry's constant surprise when he finds out his victim's blood isn't cranberry sauce. And I also gotta say, Mark Soper is not only hot, he's a pretty good actor. And I'm not just saying that because he's playing both Todd and Terry (Can You Party), he's got a strange magnetism about him. Sure, he's doing a bunch of awful things, but you can't help but like the guy.

The film's strongest performance is easily the one given by Louise Lasser, who, technically, shouldn't be in this movie. I guess Susan Tyrrell was busy that week. Nevertheless, even though the film doesn't really deserve to have her, Louise Lasser brings some much needed class to the proceedings. Though, the class she brings is the slightly demented variety. Acting mostly by herself, the scenes where Maddy struggles to maintain her sanity while her twin sons are running wild around Shadow Woods are oddly compelling.

I don't know about you, but I found the regular updates as to what Maddy was up to broke up the monotony of the slashing and stabbing that was occurring all around her.

Don't get me wrong, I dug the slashing and stabbing. But every slasher needs a gimmick, and this one's just happens to be slashing and stabbing mixed together with scenes where the mother of twins loses her mind while drinking lots of wine.

Oh, and I don't usually care about nonsense like this... But the picture quality of the Arrow Video release was pristine. In fact, it's so good, I thought it was a modern day slasher parody when things got underway; the film is so '80s, you can't help but think it's a parody at times.

I mean, Ted Raimi plays a bathroom condom salesmen. Genius.


  1. How did anyone survive that decade??? 😯

    1. I'm just guessing, but I think Cocaine and Tabletop Ms. Pacman probably helped.

  2. OK! Welcome back, btw, hope you had a smashing holiday season. ��‍♂️